On October 4, 2017, Minami Tamaki filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California alleging that German automakers BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz conspired to limit competition and stunt automotive innovation.
The German publication Der Spiegel has reported that German automakers formed a wide-ranging cartel to reach agreements related to vehicle technology, costs for components, and suppliers. It has been reported that working groups within these companies met with each other over 1,000 times dating back to the 1990s.
The automakers allegedly colluded on technical advancements, such as limiting the tank size for chemical cleaning agents (called AdBlue) that filter harmful diesel engine emissions. The Der Spiegel report also cites an example of the automakers agreeing to limit the maximum speed at which convertible roofs could be opened to 50 kilometers/hour.
Individuals in the U.S. who purchased vehicles marketed as the product of highly touted “German engineering” may have been misled and unknowingly overpaid for their vehicles, and may be entitled to compensation.
Reports of a German automaker cartel come on the heels of the Volkswagen “clean diesel” scandal, which revealed that the company masked the fact that its vehicles emitted pollutants greatly exceeding legal limits through the use of “defeat devices.” Minami Tamaki filed several lawsuits against Volkswagen alleging that the company cheated consumers and lied to the government. After consumer claims were consolidated in the Northern District of California, Minami Tamaki prosecuted this matter with attorneys around the country, which resulted in settlements of over $15 billion.
If you own or lease a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Audi, or Porsche automobile and would like to discuss your legal rights, you may contact us at (415) 788-9000 or through our online form. We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you.